After starring in two of the biggest films of 2021 in Red Notice and FreeGuy, Ryan Reynolds is teaming back up with shawn levy and Netflix for an original science fiction adventure film. The Adam Project follows time-traveling fighter pilot Adam Reed (Reynolds). When he crash-lands in the year 2022, his mission leads him to team up with his 12-year-old self in order to save the future.
Outside comic-book films, the past decade hasn’t seen many family-friendly science fiction movies break into the mainstream. There have been a handful of animated ones like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballsbut in terms of live-action science fiction adventures, The Adam Project harkens back to a genre that has long been dormant. In the mid-2000s, the genre was thriving. Entries like Journey to the Center of the Earth and Spy Kids were big hits and spawned sequels. So, if you’re feeling a little nostalgic after watching Ryan Reynolds’s latest, here are seven family-friendly science fiction adventures (both animated and live-action) to check out after The Adam Project.
The Mitchells vs. the machines
The most recent release on this list, The Mitchells vs. the machines is a euphoric blast of familial warmth. The Mitchells may not be your average kind of family, but they always stick together. When Katie Mitchell (abby jacobson), joined by her parents (Maya Rudolf and Danny McBride) and younger brother Aaron (Michael Rianda), embarks on a cross-country journey to get to college, their road trip is unfortunately interrupted by a machine uprising.
Filled to the brim with gorgeous animation and hilarious jokes, the mitchells vs. The Machines also pulls at the heartstrings as the dysfunctional family learns how much they all mean to one another. director Michael Riandaa key creative on the Disney Channel Show Gravity Falls, injects an infectious energy into every frame of his film. With the help of producers, Phil Lord and Chris MillerRianda’s exhilarating trip is a journey that everyone should absolutely go on.
Zathura: A Space Adventure
Two young boys, Walter (Josh Hutcherson) and Danny (Jonah Bobo), are left at home after their father is called into work. When the two start playing the eponymous science fiction board game, their house is suddenly launched into space, and the boys must find their way home. Before he kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Hombre de Hierro, Jon Favreau directed with underrated science fiction gem.
Based on the novel of the same name, if you think the plot of Zathura: A Space Adventure sounds a lot like Jumanji, you’d be absolutely correct. In fact, the two novels were written by the same author, Chris Van Allsburgand the films exist in the same universe, with Zathura considered a spin-off of Jumanji. Still, with the addition of reptilian aliens, alternate timelines, and a resonant core message about the resilience of brotherhood, Zathura does more than enough that allows it to stand on its own.
Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams
Any of the Spy Kids films would fit the bill but Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams is the best of the bunch when it comes to adventure. In the sequel to the very popular first entry, Carmen (Alexa PenaVega) and June (Daryl Sabara) Cortez accept a mission to investigate a scientist, played by Steve Buscemiwho has been populating a volcanic island with curious animal mutations.
From spider monkeys to slizzards (snake lizards), the plethora of imaginative animal hybrids is just as enjoyable as the film’s star-studded cast. Buscemi is immensely enjoyable as a philosophical scientist with a God complex, and with an ensemble rounded out with the likes of Antonio Banderas, bill paxtonand Carla Gugino, you really can’t go wrong. director Robert Rodriguez has made several great family-friendly science fiction films, and Spy Kids 2 ranks as one of his best.
A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
Both Shaun the Sheep films showcase Aardman Animation‘s trademark stop-motion animation and visual comedy, but only the second film delves into the genre of science fiction. In A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, Shaun and his flock of sheep befriend a blue alien who has been separated from their parents. As Shaun and the gang nimbly evade the authorities, they try to track down the alien’s spaceship that crash-landed somewhere near the farm.
Keeping in line with the first film, farmageddon‘s story unfolds without a single word of dialogue spoken. Instead, characters all communicate with each other using grunts and gestures. Through its elimination of dialogue, the Shaun the Sheep films thrive in their playful claymation full of delightful visual gags, and being a science fiction film, farmageddon has its fair share of hilarious references to classics of the genre. You don’t need to watch the first film to be able to enjoy this one, but after watching just one of them, you may find yourself unable to resist immediately queuing the other one.
Race to Witch Mountain (2009)
Speaking of aliens needing to be sent back home, Race to Witch Mountain follows Jack Bruno (Dwayne Johnson), a cab driver who picks up two runaway teens with supernatural abilities. Before Disney began remaking all of their animated classics as live-action films, they released this remake of their 1975 film of the same name. The two teens, Seth (Alexander Ludwig) and Sarah (AnnaSophia Robb) reveal themselves to be escaped aliens trying to prevent their planet from invading Earth. Reluctantly, Bruno accepts to help the teens get back to their spaceship.
As government officials remain hot on Bruno’s tail, Race to Witch Mountain maintains its full-throttle pace for the duration of its runtime. In an age where Dwayne Johnson essentially just plays himself in every movie, it’s refreshing to see him take on an actual character with a backstory. After learning about Bruno’s past of him as a convict, it becomes clear that he is helping Seth and Sara as a way to make amends for his past wrongdoings of him. Their bond becomes the touching core of this action-packed adventure.
There are actually a few Brad Bird movies that this slot could go to. However, since it’s not terribly hard to convince people to watch The Incredibles or The Iron Giantmaybe it’s time to give tomorrowland some love. The film marked Bird’s second go at a live-action film, and if there were one word to describe it, it would be “ambitious”.
Not based on any pre-existing material except the futuristic themed land found at Disney theme parks, tomorrowland tells the story of Casey (Britt Robertson) and Frank (George Clooney), an optimistic teen and disillusioned inventor who are hoping to discover the truths about a mysterious alternate dimension known as “Tomorrowland.” Bird perfectly translates his penchant for imaginative set pieces to the big screen, and the breathtaking original world he creates for the film is imbued with such vivacious life.
Meet the Robinsons
There seems to be a running theme about family-friendly science fiction films and the importance of family. In Meet the Robinsonsa gifted teenage inventor named Lewis (jordan fry) finds himself whisked to the future by a mysterious boy named Wilbur (Wesley Singerman). As he meets Wilbur’s family, the abundance of colorful characters vow to help him track down the Bowler Hat Guy (Stephen J. Anderson), who has stolen Lewis’s invention.
From its superhero pizza delivery man to its jazz playing frogs, Meet the Robinsons has plenty of funny and clever moments to go with its time-traveling premise. And during a time in the 2000s where Disney’s animated offerings were, at best, inconsistent, it stands tall as one of their best films. Its colorful animation is excitingly juxtaposed with its heartwarming story, and its frenetic pace is sure to keep even the most distracted of viewers entranced.
The Collider Movie Club team also highlights ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ and ‘WALL-E’ as video game/technology standouts.
About The Author